After reading Amor Towles’ novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, I can now understand why this book has won so many awards and nominations. It is definitely a book that I will never forget.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel
With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility , Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
When I first chose this book for my Book of the Month Club pick last fall, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was mostly drawn to the synopsis and the fact that it was covering a period of Russian history that isn’t normally portrayed in fiction novels. And if y’all haven’t already noticed, I’m a big history nerd! But what I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with in this novel is Towles’ writing. It is beautiful and immediately evokes thoughts of the classics. You are instantly transported into the Metropol and Rostov’s world. I felt as if I was living alongside Rostov as he navigated the confines of his new life in the hotel.
However, as wonderful as the writing is, it’s the characters that are truly the stars. Count Rostov has become one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever encountered. He is witty, charming, and certainly charismatic. When I picture the personality of a true gentleman, this is who I would imagine him to be like. As soon as he was introduced, I was immediately drawn to him. He’s basically someone that I would love to sit down with and just have the most interesting conversation. I loved his relationship with the 9 year old Nina. She’s so precocious and funny. Their friendship quickly develops into one of the cutest things ever. Nina eventually gives way to Sofia, who completely changes the Count’s life. She is Nina’s opposite and yet I loved her all the same. Then of course, there are so many more important side characters in the Metropol that the Count develops close friendships with. They were all wonderful and fully fleshed out, which I really appreciated. I had no trouble telling them apart, as their individual personalities were so unique and they each were given time to present their personal backgrounds. This isn’t something that is normally shown in novels and I loved that Towles does it so easily.
If you’re looking for a story that’s fast-paced and full of action, then A Gentleman in Moscow won’t fulfill that. This is a story that is driven by character development. It needs to be savored and loved, page by page. Even though this novel is not plot driven, I was completely engaged. I didn’t want to put this book down and couldn’t wait to turn each page to see where the Count’s life was headed next. Watching him develop over the years and being able to experience the growth of his character was what really captured my attention. There are chapters where nothing really happens and yet you don’t care because you are so thoroughly invested in the characters that every little detail is important. Honestly, that’s the best way to determine how great an author is!
This book was everything I could of dreamed and I only wish that there was more. I just cannot believe that I’ve put off picking up this book for so long. It was warm and endearing. I think it was the perfect read to begin the holiday season with. My recent Book of the Month Club reads have all been winners so I don’t think I’ll continue putting off those books anymore! And after reading this novel, I am for sure going to be picking up Towles other novel, Rules of Civility. Towles has just become one of my favorite authors.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read A Gentleman in Moscow? If so, what did you think of it? Are you fan of literary or historical fiction? Have you ever put off a book for a long time only to read it and end up loving it?